Continuing reports about the order by George W. Bush to have the National Security Agency read emails and listen to phone calls from American citizens who were never accused of any crime – and to do so without any search warrant or judicial review – are now indicating that some top congressional Democrats may have been complicit in the program.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, now admits that she was briefed by Dick Cheney about the plan to use the National Security Agency to spy against American citizens within the borders of the United States. Representative Pelosi was the chair of the House intelligence committee at the time.
Former Senator Bob Graham, who previously claimed that he was never briefed by the NSA spying plans, now acknowledges that he did attend a briefing on the domestic espionage program.
What’s their excuse? Graham says that he left the briefing with the impression that there had been “no discussion about expanding [NSA eavesdropping] to include conversations of U.S. citizens or conversations that originated or ended in the United States” and “with the full sense that we were dealing with a change in technology but not policy.” Essentially, Graham still claims that the briefing did not reveal that the National Security Agency would be using telephone and email connections to spy against Americans.
Pelosi, for her part, says that the briefing she received was merely about “President Bush’s decision to provide authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities.” Pelosi said that, at the briefing, she “expressed my strong concerns.”
Pardon me, but I smell bullshit.
Bob Graham’s shifting descriptions of his briefing on the program are beginning to look more like an excuse than an accurate account of what happened. Also, I wonder why, if Nancy Pelosi’s briefing didn’t include any specifics about the NSA’s new activities, she expressed her strong concerns? Strong concerns about what?
Now, I haven’t been briefed or anything, but the impression that I get is that the leaders of the Democratic Party were informed of George W. Bush’s plans to put himself above the law and seize the power to spy against any American citizen at the time and place of his choosing. Then, they walked away and did nothing.
Sorry, Representative Pelosi, but expressing “strong concerns” in a private meeting is not enough. I expect any member of Congress, when told of a plan of the President of the United States to violate the law, trash the United States Constitution, and play havoc with the rights of American citizens, to stand up and let the American people know what is going on. If the President then hauls that member of Congress off to prison, so be it. We don’t elect members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, to sit on their hands while the President grabs the powers of a dictator.
Accounts of the top Democrats’ involvement in briefings about the National Security Agency’s program to spy against Americans is just another indication of what I’ve suspected for a long time – that when the Democratic Party was given the chance to stand up to George W. Bush and his plans to undermine American freedom, it lost its spine.
I don’t give a damn if it’s a Democratic politician or a Republican politician who attacks my liberty. Anyone involved in this crime against the Constitution should resign or be forced out of office.